There's a movement of citizens inspired by the presidential campaign who are now submitting ideas for how they think the Obama Administration should change America. It's called "Ideas for Change in America."
One idea is titled: Capture methane from sewage treatment plants; heat homes, fuel vehicles, make electricity.. You can read more and vote for the idea by clicking the following link:
The top 10 ideas are going to be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day and will be supported by a national lobbying campaign run by Change.org, MySpace, and more than a dozen leading nonprofits after the Inauguration. So each idea has a real chance at becoming policy.
Today 90% of the potential energy in sewage is removed and turned into CO2 or other products (via aerobic microbial action). Usually only about 5%-10% of potential fuel is collected into anaerobic digesters (where methane is produced). Methane is then usually considered just a byproduct, and increased production is rarely sought. When methane production is attempted, it is sometimes produced in such surplus that it could potentially provide energy to hundreds or thousands of homes. Imagine all that energy, and it is less than 10% of the potential!
If we approach sewage treatment with energy production as the primary goal, (treating sewage in anaerobic digesters first, harvesting the vast amounts of methane, then finishing the water as usual) we will have thousands of small local Biogas (natural gas) production plants, which could:
- provide clean vehicle fuel (already a proven technology)
- supply fuel for cheap electricity
- provide gas to heat homes or buildings
I am hoping that this gets a little interest, but it needs about 500 more people to vote for it before anyone would take notice.
If you have a chance, vote for it. I think you need to create an account, but as far as I can tell, they don't spam you or anything.